Best Bet. Nick Saban and Alabama Have Proven Their Integrity

Last Saturday’s "bad beat of the week" could have been used as evidence to the U.S. House Judiciary meeting as faith for their concerns in a post-PASPA sports betting world.

Bad beat proves coaches don't pay attention to the betting line

Sweet home Alabama. Where the skies are blue. And after last Saturday’s forgettable 56-14 win over a hopelessly overmatched University of Louisiana team, nobody could ever accuse the Crimson Tide and their legendary coach, Nick Saban of lacking integrity. That is, unless you were unlucky enough or foolish enough to wager upon them.

Submitted as evidence for your review is a recap of what happened. But first, a general overview of the game line from a sample of preferred online sportsbooks including Bovada, BetOnline and Diamond Sports.

Alabama -48.5 to -49.5

After toying with Louisiana during the first half, the Tide rolled out to a 49-0 lead. Coach Saban trotted into the locker room looking as if the nation’s NCAA number one ranked team was behind three touchdowns. What was bothering him was later revealed in his post-game press conference. He ranted "that most Alabama STUDENTS were not cheering as loud as they rightfully should have. That more didn’t show up and several seats were empty. Their privilege of getting seats were more deserving of regular Alabama natives who truly appreciate the history and culture of Alabama Crimson Tide football."

Alabama Crimson Tide oddsIn other words, if you weren’t born in Alabama and weren’t screaming your ass off on every play for a 149-0 thrashing, you weren’t deserving of a ticket opportunity. Or as the Lynyrd Skynyrd song clearly said “hope Neil Young can remember; a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.

Too bad all didn’t know what the coach was thinking. As it sure set up for one of the greatest halftime wagering opportunities of all-time.

A Hidden Gem – College Football 2nd Half Wagering

Whether you love it or not, college football vs. pro football allows much greater time to wager upon the second half of any game. Those university bands and rah-rah cheerleaders on the field during the half offer a good incremental 10 minutes more to secure a smart bet in comparison to any traditional NFL game.  The perfect opportunity came into play last Saturday against Alabama.

Sensing that, I curiously checked the opening halftime line at popular sportsbook 5 Dimes.

Alabama -14.5 (-115)
Louisiana +14.5 (+105)

The line did not surprise me, indicating the faith many had in Alabama covering the number in the second half PLUS believing it would insure the earlier wagers upon covering the giant point spread. What did shock me was the extra (+0.5) opportunity, convinced there would no two-point conversions, field goals and assuming no missed extra points on touchdowns.

With the game already decided after the first half and their NCAA poll position locked away for another week, “Saint Nick” was practically trying to remember players names among the 100 on the bench starting the second half.  Most were likely more talented than anybody on Louisiana’s first-team roster, plus offered the opportunity for some evaluation time in case of potential injuries. Big problem. Try selling that plan to anybody who had bet on Alabama -49. 

The Tide politely allowed Louisiana to reach the end zone on each of its two possessions in the fourth quarter, capped off by an 18-yard touchdown that cut the deficit to 42 with 3:58 left in the game. The second half +14.5 wagers were locked for Louisiana, but the game spread was still in doubt.

Alabama drove the football down to the Louisiana 15-yard line on the game's final drive, but time ran out on those who desperately needed a touchdown to cover. Perhaps Saban was punishing students (and bettors) who weren’t screaming loud enough?

Integrity Award

We’ll hope this game will go as proof amid screams lately about "honesty and integrity" being compromised involving professional and especially college athletics. It was one of the major concerns and issues addressed last week in Washington, D.C. during a House Judiciary Review focusing upon PASPA and newly legalized U.S. sports wagering.  

It’s become commonplace every week on televised sports broadcasts, especially ESPN to feature "bad beats" among their coverage. Last week, the Alabama-Louisiana game was getting significant notice. Now, we wouldn’t dare think that Coach Saban would use substitute players or lay down the ball because he had anything sinister planned involving financial gain. Merely to reinforce integrity into the football game by allowing other student athletes the scholarship opportunity they truly deserved.

On a positive note, keep this situation in mind next time a similar opportunity comes around on a Saturday afternoon. Utilizing the extra time and the band playing, check out those halftime lines to see if any ranked team has absolutely no incentive to run up the score in the second half. Much more important than possibly getting any NCAA poll votes on Monday. Better to protect honesty and integrity, right? As usual, no lock.    

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.

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